Senate passes N299.5b 2015 NDDC budget, others
THE Senate yesterday passed the budget proposal of N299.5 billion for Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) for the 2015 fiscal year.
The budget amount comprised N271, 089, 998, 023 (project development) expenditure; N16,133,377,133.00 personnel expenditure; N10,423,319,000.00 overhead expenditure as well as N1,879,769,000.12 capital expenditure.
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Niger Delta, James Manager, who presented the report at the plenary, said the budget would be financed from a projected revenue of N300.1 billion drawn from N160 billion contribution from oil companies; N70 billion provision from the Federal Government; N40 billion Ecological Fund; N20 billion unpaid arrears by the Federal Government; N10 billion as revenue brought forward and N100 million Internally-Generated Revenue (IGR).
Manager added that the committee considered the Federal Government proposals and observed that non-project expenditure which comprised personnel, overheads and the internal capital totalling N28.4 billion represent 9.5 per cent of the total budget proposal for the year as against 8.43 per cent proposed for the year 2014.
In another development, the House of Representatives yesterday slashed the contribution by oil producing companies to the proposed Petroleum Host Communities Fund (PHCF) by 2.5 per cent from the 10 per cent initially proposed in the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) being considered by the Chamber.
The fund, which is expected to cater for the mitigation of all negative environmental impacts on host-communities arising from exploration activities of oil firms, was slashed following argument that any attempt to retain the 10 per cent may have negative effect on future investment in the sector.
The development among other sundry contested issues on the floor of the chamber yesterday led to the setting up of a special ad-hoc panel by the parliament to review the bill.
Chairman of the ad-hoc committee and Chief Whip of the House, Ishaka Bawa while expressing concerns on the likely challenges to future investments in the oil sector, said a reduction of the proposed percentage to host-communities is certainly going to increase in the nearest future, given the recent discovery of oil in many places in the North, which he said, would raise the stake on investors.
He said: “Whatever we do, we must take into cognisance the implications these are likely to have on future investments in the sector.”
He noted that oil-producing communities would soon extend to all the states in the North-West and North-East, except Sokoto and Kebbi, a suggestion that led to a motion that the percentage be slashed from 10 to 7.5 per cent.
Manager further said: “It is pertinent to mention that due to the peculiar nature of the NDDC budget, the committee finds that it is necessary to separate the capital budget meant for use internally by the commission from capital budget meant for project development.”
According to the committee, the budget should be operative from January 1, 2015 to December 31, 2015. It, therefore, admonished the Senate to vigorously pursue the proper calculation and release of 15 per cent statutory contribution of the Federal Government for the funding of NDDC.
The committee also recommended the need for the Senate to assist in enforcing the payment of the statutory 50 per cent of monies meant for NDDC member-states from the Ecological Fund with a view to enhancing the commission’s rev
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